Was able to catch up with two days of pending blogging in my Bluebolt solo tent pitched up on a flat soft grassland in the hamlet of Gogina. Got a beautiful long exposure click of the night sky filled with stars. Out of the wind, the night was much warmer. Woke up before my morning alarm, packed up my gears and off to the one and only dhaba for tea and breakfast. Packed up some snacks and chowmin for lunch.
The road basically ends at Gogina from where a clear, wide rock path contours on the left valley slope high above the Ramganga river. After 3km it descends and crosses the river and climbs up on the opposite side to Namik village, a picturesque settlement surrounded by terrace farmlands 300m above the valley. Smiling faces everywhere seeing a lone traveler passing by. A shepherd is just passing through the narrow lanes of the hamlet on his way to graze the meadows.
From Namik a beautiful cobbled rock path climbs up through the open meadows. I pass through an unnamed dwelling of a handful of rock homes with straw roofs. A lady releases s bunch of small sheep from one of the homes. It s a good thousand meter ascent to the Sur Sungri Khal pass at 3150m altitude. The rock path enters the forest and contours right climbing up steadily. We pass a few bridges across small streams and the ruined dwellings of Lachpal Pani Kharak and Bhajimanian Kharak.
The final climb to the pass is steep and the path is partly covered by foot deep snow making progress slow with each step sinking inside. The wide path remains clear beneath the white snow blanket. It s probably one of the more beautiful paths I ve encountered on my journey so far. Just below the pass there is a split, one path contours left below the ridgeline towards Nanda Kund at 4050m. A bit too high / too much snow during winter.
I cross the pass at 11:30am marked by a small mandir. After a short steep drop on the other side through snow the East facing slope is mostly clear. Initial plan was to proceed to the Rur Khan pass next leading to the entrance of the Milan valley. Having fallen in love with the rock path however I decide to follow the main path to find out where it leads. The trail towards the Rur Khan pass contours to the upper valley, while the cobbled rock path turns right and drops down into the unnamed river valley below.
After an initial steeper drop through the upper meadows it enters the forest and contours more gradually downhill towards the lower valley. Similar to the other side of the Sur Sungri Khal pass the path remains wide and clear, a pleasure to hike on. After some 6km it finally passes through the inhabited dwelling of Kethi, a picturesque settlement of a single home. A little while further I finally hit the road to Munsyari (30km) near the hamlet of Bhurting.
I hitch a ride in a private car to skip the long road section which hair pins widely as it climbs up thousand meter to a ridge at 2750m before dropping down 500m to Munsyari. While driving up I notice a rock path which climbs up all the way to the top. Damn, I could have walked up instead! I get a drop on top at Kalamuni near a mandir where I grab some food late afternoon after a long day in a small dhaba and pack up some snacks for the night.
I plan to camp at Thamri Kund lake, 3km from the road along a ridgeline. I start walking to the trail head, another 5km down the road when a kind taxi driver who is driving two tourists to Munsyari picks me up and drops me at the start of the trail. With the clocking hitting 5pm I hurry along another nice cobbled rock path to the lake 3km away. On the East I get treated on mesmerizing views of Panchchuli while on the West I see a beauty sunset above the mountains.
The rock path takes me on a big tour around the lake while the 5 peaks of Panchchuli above the Goriganga river valley slowly turn orange as the sun sets down. I pitch up my Bluebolt solo tent with clear views of the snow capped peaks ready to take in the sunrise views next morning. On the other side of the ridgeline the skies turn deep orange as the sun sets below the horizon. I get into my tent as the temperature drops and city lights of Munsyari twinkle in the valley below.